What is lisinopril, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Lisinopril is an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used for treating high blood pressure, heart failure and for preventing kidney failure due to high blood pressure and diabetes. Other ACE inhibitors include:

ACE is important because it is an enzyme responsible for producing the chemical, angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes muscles in most arteries, including the arteries of the heart, to contract, thereby narrowing the arteries and elevating blood pressure. ACE inhibitors such as lisinopril lower blood pressure by reducing the production of angiotensin II, thereby relaxing arterial muscle and enlarging arteries. When the blood pressure is lower, the heart – including the failing heart – does not have to work as hard to pump blood. The arteries supplying the heart with blood also enlarge during treatment with ACE inhibitors. This increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, further improving the ability of the heart to pump blood.

The effects of ACE inhibitors are particularly beneficial to people with congestive heart failure. In the kidneys, the narrowing of the arteries by angiotensin II decreases blood flow and damages the kidneys. ACE inhibitors enlarge and reduce the blood pressure in the arteries going to the kidney. This reduces damage to the kidneys caused by the high blood pressure. The FDA approved lisinopril in December 1987.

What are the side effects of lisinopril?

First doses of lisinopril can cause dizziness due to a drop in blood pressure.

This drug also can cause:

Like all ACE inhibitors, lisinopril may cause a nonproductive cough that resolves when the drug is discontinued.

Lisinopril should be stopped if there are symptoms or signs of an allergic reaction including feelings of swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat. Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) and hives occasionally occur.

Rarely, lisinopril may cause a decrease in red blood cells (anemia), white blood cells (leukopenia), and platelets (thrombocytopenia).

Why does lisinpril cause a cough?

Like all ACE inhibitors, lisinopril may cause a nonproductive cough that resolves when the drug is discontinued.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/22/2017




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